New Delhi: India has a “serious” hunger problem and ranks 100 among 119 developing countries, lagging behind countries such as North Korea and Iraq, said the global hunger index report released by Washington-based International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) on Thursday. India has slipped 45 ranks in the Global Hunger Index (GHI) since 2014. In the latest 2017 result, India is ranked 100 among 119 countries.
With a 31.4 score in the GHI India is at the high end of the “serious” category. Over three years, the country slipped from 55th position to the current 100th rank. The index shows that more than a fifth of Indian children under the age of five are malnourished and weigh too little for their height, reported the Business Standard.
India ranked third-worst among all the Asian countries, better only than Afghanistan and Pakistan, according to the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI), the body that prepared the GHI report.
Of the 19 South, East and Southeast Asian countries ranked in the report, Timor-Leste, Afghanistan, Pakistan, India and North Korea have the worst Global Hunger Index scores in Asia, reported BS.
According to the index, a score of 9.9 or lower denotes low hunger; while scores between 35.0 and 49.9 denote alarming hunger, and a score of 20-34.9 means ‘serious’ problem of hunger.
The report stated that as of 2015-16, 21 percent of India’s children suffered from child wasting (low weight and height), which went up by a percent from 2005-2006. Other than India, only three countries showed child wasting above 20 percent, the reported noted.
P K Joshi, director of IFPRI director for South Asia, said that despite efforts, a large number of poor in India are at the risk of malnourishment in 2017, primarily due to drought and structural deficiencies.
Data from the report showed that India’s rank (100) was lower than all its neighbours—Nepal (72), Myanmar (77), Bangladesh (88), Sri Lanka (84) and China (29)—except Pakistan (106). Even North Korea (93) and Iraq (78) fared better in hunger parameters and GHI rankings, the report.
The report further said that India’s poor score is one of the main factors pushing South Asia to the category of the worst performing region on the GHI scale this year.
“With a GHI score that is near the high end of the serious category, it is obvious that a high GDP growth rate alone is no guarantee of food and nutrition security for India’s vast majority,” said Nivedita Varshneya, India director of Welthungerhilfe, a non-profit which co-authored the GHI report with IFPRI.